Target Audience versus Persona
Traditional marketing teaching starts with knowing your target audience. Nothing happens if you do not know your audience intimately. Marketers invest a lot of resources trying to compile as much specific information about their audience as possible. Sometimes, the audience can be divided into primary and secondary targets. It is only logical that you need to know your audience as you would know someone close to you. Otherwise, how can you talk to them in the form of advertising in a meaningful way and attract their attention to consider your brand and product?
Since digital marketing grew very impactful, we started hearing the concept of persona. Personas are specific user profiles who have the potential to be your customers. A persona is a much more detailed description of your particular consumer and their pain points that you can solve. You could have multiple personas because people with varying backgrounds and pain points may want your product for different reasons. A persona aims to identify each specific type of person with each specific pain point.
For example, I might define my target audience for my consulting business as "brands/companies who do not have an extensive marketing team and need support in bringing their marketing and innovation strategies to life." But, when it comes to persona, I need to state a particular type of specific situation and client who might have the potential to ask for my support. For instance, one persona could be: "a startup owner in her early thirties who just launched her business and who identified that she needs help crafting marketing strategies." Or "a company with a marketing team tasked to develop innovative ideas that can attract new types of consumers to their brand." I could go on and on and craft at least ten more personas for my consulting business, whereas I would always have that one target audience definition. The personas themselves should have the potential to define a subset of consumers. The potentiality of each persona needs to be thought through to determine whether there would be enough customers for each one to allocate precious marketing resources.
Now, both the general target audience definition and the personas have a place in marketing. The strength of digital marketing made some of the traditional marketing teachings doubt itself. But we need to understand that it is not one versus the other. They both serve different purposes and must be part of the marketer's toolkit.
So, start with your brand's target audience definition, whether you are a solopreneur or a corporation. Then upon further research, you can craft the specific personas where your brand will play a role in serving the customer.
We are here to help if you need support in defining who your target audience is and in crafting meaningful personas to make your marketing dollars work with precision.